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Does the Belief That IPAs Give You Boobs Hold Any Weight?

The rumor that IPAs contain boob-producing phytoestrogens has long struck fear into the hearts of men, but boob-growth experts insist they’re wrong about hops. Who’s to be believed in this battle of the breast?

The idea that beer could make your boobs bigger is great news for those of us who both enjoy beer and want bigger boobs. But if that’s not you, it’s a nightmare concept. Love beer but don’t want breast growth? You’re fucked. Want to grow your boobs, but don’t drink beer? You’re fucked, too. 

This, at least, is the debate among the beer-drinking and boob-growing communities, who are split on the specifics but firm in their belief that there’s some correlation between hops consumption and bigger naturals. Predominantly among men, there’s a concern that drinking too many IPAs will produce an increase in breast tissue. And among women who actually want more breast tissue, there’s an assertion that the hops in beer are nowhere near enough to help them achieve their goals. 

Who’s right in this battle of hops and hogans?

The basis for both arguments comes from the fact that hops, the main ingredient in beer, might contain phytoestrogens, a plant-derived form of estrogen that, among other things, can potentially produce breast tissue. Certain beers like IPAs contain more hops than your standard lager, and therefore, in theory, contain more phytoestrogen. This speculative connection has led many dudes to freak out, particularly when articles with headlines like “Hops in Beer Linked to Man Boobs” start circulating. But as it turns out, they have little to fear — the link between hops and boobs is extremely tenuous. And while some herbalists have posited that hops could lead to gynecomastia, there’s never been any concrete study or evidence that proves it. 

What’s most dubious about these claims is that we don’t know exactly how much phytoestrogen is in any particular beer, nor do we know exactly how much is required to produce breasts, if it can at all. This is partially why internet boob-growing experts say that beer isn’t enough to help breast enhancement, if that’s what you’re going for. 

“Hops in beer are extremely small in number,” wrote Sahar, a writer of the BiggerBreastFormula blog. “And even worse, because of fermentation and alcohol, only a few isoflavones are going to be left intact! In other words, hops in beer are too weak to have a positive effect on your breast, and you will need many liters a day to start noticing a difference.”

Instead, Sahar and others online recommend that people wanting to get bigger boobs through hops do so through hops supplements, though none cite specifically how many milligrams a person should take. Sahar’s blog does state, however, that people who want to grow their breasts through hops should add fenugreek and saw palmetto to their supplementation list. 

But, as is the case with IPAs, there’s no evidence that hops pills can make you grow breasts, either. In 2013, researchers in Belgium had women who were about to undergo breast reduction take hops prior to surgery, and then measured the quantity of phytoestrogens in the removed tissue. They concluded that “low doses of prenylflavonoids [like hops] are unlikely to elicit estrogenic responses in breast tissue.”

In fairness, there’s not much other research about what would happen if you took higher doses of hops. Some people do take hops supplements to aid in sleep and to calm menopause symptoms, but there’s not much research to back up those usages, either. That said, the United States National Library of Medicine says taking up to 300 milligrams of hops per day is relatively safe, but should be avoided in people with estrogen-sensitive conditions like breast cancer. So, maybe there’s still some correlation, but not enough to say you’re gonna get boobs by taking hops supplements.

In any case, beer almost definitely won’t give you boobs because it contains estrogen. Instead, beer might give you boobs if you drink enough of it to gain weight. But there’s a reason why they call it a beer belly, and not beer boobs.